Don’t be an Abusive, Angry, Absent, or Addicted Parent

September 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t be an abusive parent. The goal of parenting is to train up disciples of Christ by trying to utterly convince the children that God has placed into our trust of His absolute supremacy, as we nurture them and teach them His Word. This lofty goal involves corporal discipline, but discipline is not punishment, and it is certainly not abuse. A parent who sinfully – whether physically or mentally – injures a child out of spite or loss of control is attacking God Himself, and this is a dangerous prospect to say the least.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:6

Don’t be an angry parent. As Christian parents, we ourselves are the children of our Heavenly Father. He is angry with the wicked every day, but He is not angry at His Own children.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Our job is to prevent our children from feeling and practicing the sort of sinful wrath that God hates to see in His creatures.

Don’t be an absent parent.

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:26

We have to be present if our children are going to observe our ways. Too many parents spend so much time working that they rarely see their children, leaving them in the care of nurseries, daycare facilities, nannies, babysitters, and school systems. This is not God’s plan for child-rearing. Dads, especially, however, are even prone to being absent-while-present. Tuning in to a ball game on television and ignoring the kids elsewhere in the house (or right there in the room!), going hunting, fishing, golfing, remodeling old cars out in the garage, are all ways in which fathers unwind from the stress of their occupations while forgetting the important principle of being actively present in their children’s lives during crucial formative years.

Don’t be an addicted parent (unless it is an addiction to ministry that includes ministering along with your children!) Addictions to sinful activities – and addictions that are sinful not because of the object of the addiction, but because of the time, energy, money, and affection given to them – are closely akin to idolatry.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

I Corinthians 6:12

Our children will not be utterly convinced of the absolute supremacy of the true God if we worship multiple gods.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Exodus 20:12

In a pagan land like America today, the failure of Christian parents to transfer a belief in the One True God will lead to the destruction of society and to the loss of God’s blessings on His people.

Advertisements

Preparing to Hear from God: Ready

January 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

If you work in a Christian environment, or attend a Christian school, or live in a Christian home, I would assume that you are presented with multiple opportunities throughout the week – sometimes throughout the day – to hear from God. This is a great privilege, but we often take it for granted. God had no obligation whatsoever to speak to you. He is not lonely, bored, or depressed. When God decided to speak to you and me, we call this “condescension.” It’s when someone bigger and smarter and more important than you takes an interest in you even though you don’t necessarily want anything to do with Him. It’s a stooping down to our level. If God – the greatest, most magnificent, most majestic Being in all of existence – would condescend to speak to you, wouldn’t you want to hear what He has to say? To pay attention?

These lessons are about three “R”s, but not “readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic.” These are a different three R’s. They stand for how you and I should approach the idea of the Lord speaking to us:

R.eady

We know a great deal about getting ready. Students do it before school in the morning (hopefully). They do it before a test (hopefully). People get serious about it before a big a social event. But when we know that we are going to have a chance to hear from God – whether we are coming to a church service or getting ready to read our Bibles – we need to really prepare to hear from God in two specific ways:

1. Prayerfully

Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.

Psalm 119:18

2. Purposefully

Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

Psalm 78:1

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12

Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

Job 38:3

Hearing from God is not a time to be silly. It’s serious, because He is holding you and me accountable for what He says.

Next time, we will think about being receptive in our preparation to hear from God.

Anybody Can Be Profane

May 6, 2010 at 10:25 am | Posted in Genesis | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Genesis 24 explains how Isaac and Rebekah wound up married:
A Match Made in Heaven Part 1
A Match Made in Heaven Part 2

Maybe when you were in junior high school teachers would warn students against “P.D.A.” This meant they didn’t want kids hugging and kissing in the hallways. You could make the argument that “public displays of affection” were not a good idea in Bible times, either.

And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon. And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us. And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death. Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.

Genesis 26:6-12

Isaac seems to have had a significantly different personality from Abraham. Abraham was more a man of action; Isaac was contemplative.

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

Genesis 24:63

In modern Christianity, we need more Isaacs. They are a little strange, but they have a great desire to know God. Who you are before God is more important than what you can do for God. We must be careful of our motives. If I say that I want to serve God and be used of Him in a great way, is it because I really want to make a name for myself? Is it because I want a reward? Is it because I secretly think God “needs” help? I think Isaac would have made a good theologian. We need theologians. Isaac wanted to know God.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

My wife doesn’t love me, I can assure you, for what I can buy for her (and it’s a good thing, because I’m broke!) She doesn’t love me because of what I can do for her. What would please her is to think that I am devoting my life to getting to know her more intimately. It’s somewhat of a crude analogy, but that is how God wants to feel about us.

Isaac valued God, but contrast the view of his son, Esau:

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Genesis 25:29-34

Esau sold his birthright cheaply. He sold it for fleshly satisfaction. Esau was capable of doing many things for God: hunting, fighting, caring for his father. But he didn’t care about being something for God. He didn’t care about being a man with a hunger to know God. He hungered for a little pot of beans more than he hungered for God.

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:19

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23

Don’t sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate.

And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Genesis 25:27-28

Jacob was more like Isaac, but Isaac liked Esau better. He probably lived vicariously through him. Rebekah loved Jacob better. It’s a shame when families are divided. Children will look for opportunities to cause division. That’s one reason why it’s so important for parents to support each other.

In Genesis Chapter 25 we see some similarities between Isaac and Abraham. Both had to wait to have their first child. Both were men of prayer.

And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Genesis 25:21

Abraham quickly learned that his first son, Ishmael, would not receive God’s inheritance. Isaac and Rebekah found out the same thing, but their first-born couldn’t just be sent away. In fact, he came out with his little brother holding on to his heel.

And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

Genesis 25:24-26

Esau means hairy. Edom means red. Isaac admired Esau’s abilities and courage, but ignored his worldliness.

I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Malachi 1:2-3

The shocking thing for most people is that God hated Esau. However, when you truly understand the Gospel, you begin to be more amazed that God loved Jacob.

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

Hebrews 12:16

Profane is the opposite of sanctified, and, in some ways, the opposite of holy. “Holy” means “different from everybody else.” “Profane” means just like everything else: common or ordinary or “vulgar.”

Brain “Washing” Produces “Clean” Living (Part 2)

March 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Continuing from Part 1, Philippians 4:8 tells us exactly what sorts of things are good to think about.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

But what about the thoughts that are not good – the fiery darts of Satan? How do we keep them from coming in? First we need to know about our enemy, and take him seriously. There is a story about President Roosevelt, who thought that his dog was a good fighter. However, the dog was once attacked by another dog and soundly beaten. When challenged on whether the President’s dog could no longer be classified as a good fighter, President Roosevelt replied, “No, he’s still a good fighter – he’s just a poor judge of dogs!” As Christians we should know that Christ’s love for us will give us the ultimate victory over any enemy.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

We should never underestimate our enemies, but, once we are able to recognize them, we can be confident.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

II Corinthians 5:10

When we think about the seemingly limitless assault on our thought lives, and wonder how we can out-think so many enemies, we must remember that even statistics are on our side. King Hezekiah told his soldiers when he saw the multitude of Sennacherib’s army against them:

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

II Chronicles 32:7

After all, only a third of the angels fell from Heaven. That means there are still two-thirds on our side as ministering spirits. I’m not great at math, but, by my count, two-thirds is at least twice as much as one-third!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Things we should think about:

1. What is true. There is no point worrying about what we don’t know or what we can’t control. Some of us remember the “Y2K” hysteria when supposedly all of our technology was going to fail, causing chaos, when computers would be unable to recognize the year “2000.” It turned out not to be such a big deal. Worrying about something when there is no indication it will come to pass probably means the devil is lying to you. He is a liar, he’s the father of lies, and he was a liar from the beginning.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Genesis 3:1

2. What is honest and just. Some things are unworthy of a Christian’s energy, even of his thought energy. Scheming to work out things on our own, instead of trusting God to take care of them, is dishonest, and it causes a bad report. Don’t even think on it!

3. Whatever possesses virtue and praise. Some things are morally neither right nor wrong. They are amoral. But they have no “virtue” – they don’t motivate anyone to do good. Leisure activities may be technically without sin – but will they become a source of time consumption? Where is the virtue? It is not immoral to think about fashion, and to think about how we are going to dress. The issue is not what’s wrong with that. The issue is what is right with that? Where’s the virtue in it? Does it possess the potential for praise?

We are going to spend time talking to other people. When we think about what we’re going to say ( and it is important to think about it!) we need to think of something we can praise them for, not something that will tear them down.

When I think of Sis. Susie, do I think, “Oh no, here comes old big-mouth?” If so, then I’ll have to lie to her to be nice to her face. What I need to do is think, “She might be talkative, but she really is a friendly person.” That will produce praise.

Our testimony is affected more by what we do than what we think, but it is so important to “wash our brain” – to clean up our thinking. Because right thinking produces right living. “Brain washing” results in “clean living.”

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians 4:9

To live right we must learn, but we also must “receive.” Learning is when it enters the brain – when something becomes a stored fact. But “receiving” is when we accept it and make it a part of our life. Hearing the Word of God produces faith – and living the Word of God is the evidence that we have that faith. If I know the God of peace, I should also know the peace of God.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Psalm 119:165

Only God knows your heart, but if you’re easily offended then you’re not acting like someone who’s truly a Christian. In Nehemiah they had all kinds of opposition – traitors within and intimidators without. I know that the real key is that they had God on their side when they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days, but look at the type of people God used to do this great work.

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

Nehemiah 4:6

Their thinking was right, so their living was right, and therefore their working was right. Our thoughts control our actions – and our actions reveal our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 warns to beware of the evil ruler: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

Is your brain washed? Is your life clean? You can’t have a clean mind or a clean life until you have a clean heart – until the Lord Jesus Christ has created in you a new heart.

Arise: Naboth’s Vineyard, Ahab’s Vice, and God’s Vengeance – Part 3

December 2, 2009 at 11:23 am | Posted in Arise | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Part 1 and Part 2 we met:

I. The Pious Patriarch (Naboth)
II. The Pouting Potentate (Ahab)
III. The Poisonous Puppeteer (Jezebel)
IV. The Pestering Prophet (Elijah)

Elijah tells Ahab in I Kings 21:19: “… Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.”

And concerning Jezebel:

The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

I Kings 21:23

Here we see an example of the Preeminent Precept. It is a precept that is key to the understanding of the whole Bible. The Preeminent Precept is that God is holy and God is just, and He shall judge righteously. Under this preeminent precept there are three principles I want to look at very briefly:

No. 1. God is not mocked.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Galatians 6:7

Don’t be fooled. Don’t let anyone else fool you. And don’t fool yourself. No one “gets away with” sin. Ahab and Jezebel tried to make a mockery of God. They sat on thrones and ruled over men and women – but there was One Who ruled over them – and held them accountable.

Following up on the guarantee that God will not be mocked is the principle of sowing and reaping. We reap what we sow. And the second principle under the Preeminent Precept is:

No. 2. Sin contains its own seeds of destruction.

Things done in the Spirit – love, joy, hope – have seeds of life in them. Sin has its own seeds – seeds of death. Drugs and alcohol seem like such harmless fun – but the Bible says at the end they bite like an adder – a poisonous snake. When you take a drink or use drugs, you’ve grown a flower which looks harmless, but it will bloom into deadly poison.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Proverbs 23:31-32

When you decide you are jealous of someone or you want to hurt someone else out of spite, you are taking a bite out of a piece of fruit that may taste sweet, but it will make you as sick as a dog.

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

Proverbs 26:27

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Ecclesiastes 10:8

If you decide to step outside God’s boundaries of sexual purity, and flirt and fool around and experience a little emotional pleasure or physical pleasure, then you have scattered some seed on that side of the fence, and the branches will grow out into every part of your life, and cause God to have to come and hack them down and throw them into the fire.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

I Corinthians 6:9-10

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:15

1. God is not mocked.
2. Sin contains its own seeds of destruction.
3. God will repay.

… it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Romans 12:19

When Cain slew Abel – the first murder – Abel’s blood cried up to God from the ground. All throughout the Bible, the cries of the oppressed, the helpless, the wronged, cry out to God. He hears them and He is just and righteous, and He will make things right. The blood of Naboth and his sons cried up to God from the earth… and God determined to repay.

Be very careful about your actions in this life. You can do wrong to someone in this world in such a way that the earthly powers can not make it right. But you can not wrong someone and cover it up in such a way that God will not find it out and avenge the wronged person. You will have to “get over yourself,” because you can not “get over” on God.

The Preeminent Precept is preeminent because it must be grasped for a proper understanding of the Gospel. We don’t always grasp God’s perfection, and His fairness, and His justice, and His holiness – because we don’t have anything to use for comparison. We ourselves are so tainted with sin that we see “fairness” through a dark and cloudy lens of self-interest. God is light – but we have attempted to reduce the dramatic contrast of the Light by making ourselves seem bright, too. Until we see how black with sin our own heart is – until we see the hopelessness of the midnight of our soul – until we realize that we are buried in a pit of sin and unrighteousness – we will never fully realize how bright and shining and gloriously radiant God is.

Ahab had a glimpse of this:

And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.

I Kings 21:27-29

But Jezebel did not. Three years went by. As she and Ahab sat around the royal dinner table enjoying the herbs from the garden which used to be Naboth’s vineyard, did Ahab jump every time he heard a dog bark?

The preeminent precept is that God is just and holy and righteous, and that He will judge sin. It held true in the case of Ahab and Jezebel. God’s promises always come to pass.

We have seen:

I. The Pious Patriarch
II. The Pouting Potentate
III. The Poisonous Puppeteer
IV. The Pestering Prophet
V. The Preeminent Precept

In part four we will look at:

The Poignant Payment

Give Him Your Heart

November 9, 2009 at 10:14 am | Posted in Salvation | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Proverbs 23:26 says, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” This is the plea of an earthly parent to his child, but God may be saying the same thing to you today. Have you given the Lord your heart? If so, do you know when, where, and can you describe it in detail?

Maybe you never have. Maybe everybody you know thinks you’re a Christian, but you know you’re not, and God knows you’re not. Your sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ took your sin on Himself, and He took the punishment for it in your place on the Cross. He was sinless and perfect, yet He was tortured and crucified for every sin you and I ever committed.

The good news is that God accepted Him as the perfect and only possible sacrifice for sin, and showed His acceptance by resurrecting Him from the dead. He lives today, and you have only two choices: You must believe on Him, rejecting your own self-righteousness, or you must reject Him.

What to Buy for Your Kids

July 23, 2009 at 9:49 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Bible tells us of three things that parents should be for their children:

Be an enforcer.
Be an encourager.
Be an example.

It also tells us three things that parents should do for their children:

Pray for them.
Play with them.
Pay attention to them.

Now, let’s conclude by looking at what parents should buy for their children.

We are not talking about material things, although obviously parents should provide certain material things for their children. We are not even talking about things like paying medical bills, or paying for their education. Those things are good, and I understand that parents want to give their children all the things they didn’t have when they were growing up. But “thou shalt give thy children all the things that thou didst not have” is not a command from Scripture. In fact, the things that your children don’t have – the things that aren’t given to them – the things they have to work for themselves – may just be the very things that God uses to make them the kind of men or women God wants them to be.

The Bible tells us what parents should buy for their children – and what parents should teach children to buy for themselves.

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23

Now, I know that “the truth” is not really for sale, but what the proverb means is that there are some things worth sacrificing for in this life, and the truth is one of them. I can spend my time as a parent investing in worldly or material things, and my children will learn to do the same. Or, I can invest in eternal things, and “buy” for my children something much more valuable. “Buy the truth and sell it not.”

As one preacher warns, “Do not sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate.” Good works done for Christ will last. Everything else is vanity, and will not last.

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23

From where does wisdom come? It comes from the Lord. Instruction is the obtaining of wisdom, and the application of truth. Understanding comes from knowing God and His Word. These things are so valuable that they are invaluable. They are worth too much to be traded for anything.

When we see a Bible verse like Proverbs 23:23, we can do one of two things. One thing will bring great blessings, and the other thing will bring a great deal of trouble.

We can say, “I know that’s the Bible, and that’s God’s Word, and I see now that what I’m doing is different from what God says. Therefore, I’m wrong, and God is right, and I must change.” This attitude stings, but it brings great blessings.

Or, we can say, “I know that’s what the Bible says, but I’ve got my own way of doing things. Besides, that verse couldn’t be for me because it would be impossible for me to do things differently from the way I’m doing them now. God will just have to understand. My kids are different. My work schedule is an exception. My financial situation is an exception. God will just have to give me a break on this one. I can provide for my kids on my own. They’ll have a place to live, they’ll have nice clothes, something to eat, they’ll be happy.”

By taking this attitude, we cut ourselves off from God’s help.

All parents need to know this about God’s will: God’s will is perfect.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

God will never command us to do something, and then make it impossible for us to do it. He will never ordain something for us in His providence, and hold us accountable for it, unless He has made it so that we can handle it.

Parents will give an account before God of what we did with our children, along with (and possibly even before) giving an account for our time, talent, resources, and even our ministries.

Dad: Are you the most faithful person in your household? Are you the one who insists that your family will not miss church unless it’s absolutely necessary? Are you leading the way in Bible study, in prayer, in worship, in personal holiness?

As a father, on the day of accountability, I will not be able to say, “But Lord, I needed to earn more money to give to missions. I needed to spend more time with my friends – I was trying to get them to come to church.”

If “my” children, who are really “His” children, are lonely, needing affection, needing their father, needing somebody to protect them and keep them from going astray, I will answer to God for that.

When I do anything right as a father, I have to admit that the Holy Spirit gets the credit. But if I mess up, that’s on me. The truth is, I will do more right on accident while being led by the Spirit, than I will do on purpose leaning on my own understanding. However, that is not an excuse for me to just sit back, do my own thing, and trust that the Lord will fill in for me when I’m not on the job, leading my family. God is sovereign, but it may well be that, in His sovereignty, He has ordained me to be the means by which He protects and blesses my children.

The last two verses in the Old Testament are Malachi Chapter 4, Verses 5 and 6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

The next time you’re out in public, take a moment to really look at the kids you see. I know we don’t judge people strictly by their outward appearance, but when you see the wildly spiked, multicolored hair – when you see the bizarre-looking piercings and tatoos – when you truly can’t figure out if some of the kids are boys or girls – see if you do not agree that today the hearts of children are turned away from their fathers like never before. I may be wrong, but I think the devil knows that the great and terrible day of the Lord – the day of the return of Elijah – is getting near. I think he’s doing everything he can to turn children’s hearts away from their parents.

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:26

We must teach our children to keep constant watch on their attitude, actions, and acquaintances.

What to Be for Your Kids

June 17, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting | 22 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Praise the Lord for kids! I have three of them myself [now four!; updated Sept. 2014]. As my wife likes to say, “I just love kids – but I couldn’t eat a whole one!”

The fact is that the three kids who call me “Daddy” are not really “my” kids. They are the Lord’s.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalm 127:3

Children are a reward, and a blessing, but they are also given to us as a deposit. We are to manage them, put them to use, protect them, and help them to grow – like an investment… an investment for the Lord.

And, when you have an entrusted investment, the Owner will one day want an accounting.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Psalm 127:4

How are children like arrows? Both arrows and children must be “straight” in order to work right – not crooked, not “perverse.” Bent arrows are no good.

Second, arrows are made to be shot – they are made to go where the archer cannot reach. Arrows go into the quiver first, but they are not meant to stay in the quiver forever.

If you are a Christian parent, there are three things you should BE for your kids:

BE an encourager.

When a child does something good, tell him about it. When a child has something to say, listen to her.

Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Most parents are pretty good at the admonition part. Admonishing comes in when kids do wrong. We are often quick to tell them about the wrong, but not so quick to tell them when they do right. That’s the “nurture” part – the “building-up.”

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Proverbs 23:24

Do your children bring you joy? If so, let them know about it!

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

Proverbs 12:18

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

Parents can encourage their children by talking to them, and they can encourage their children in how they talk to them.

Sarcasm is prevalent in our culture today. If your kids have been exposed to school or television at all, you have heard these phrases come out their mouths just dripping with sarcasm: “Yeah, right;” “Whatever;” “That’s just great.”

Sarcasm can be contagious. Kids bring it home from school or their friends’ homes, and before long the parents are doing it, too. We may think sarcasm is funny, but the Bible says it is corrupt communication. The purpose of sarcasm is to make the other person feel like they’ve said or done something dumb. It tears down; it doesn’t build up, and it doesn’t encourage. God wants parents to be encouragers, not discouragers. God wants children to honor their fathers and mothers – to speak to them respectfully – to not talk back. Children should never speak to their parents in a way that indicates a belief that their parents do not know as much as they do.

Parents should BE encouragers, and parents should BE enforcers.

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:19 (emphasis added)

Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:22 (emphasis added)

It is very important for Christian parents to teach their children to listen – to hear.

Listening, hearing, and obeying do not come naturally to children. In fact, doing what is right in general does not come naturally to children. Do you know what does come naturally to children? Foolishness.

What makes a child carry a full-to-the-brim glass of red Kool-aid onto beige carpet? Foolishness.

What makes a kid who has 3 hours to clean her room spend 2 hours and 45 minutes listening to music, and then try to do the cleaning in 15 minutes? Foolishness.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…

Proverbs 22:15

When I think back to my earliest memories, I have to admit that no one ever had to sit me down as a little child and teach me to lie. No one ever had to teach me to be selfish and greedy, or to hit my brother. No, those things came naturally to me. I did not jump up and down, and say, “Can I go to church now? Please!”

As Christian parents we need to encourage our children to listen when they are in God’s house, and especially when God’s Word is being read or taught. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:5).

Getting children to hear the Word of God, whether they think church is boring or not, is a heart issue – not an entertainment issue. In Bible times, children were expected to come to church to hear the Word.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

Joel 2:15-16 (emphasis added)

God’s will in the Old Testament was for children to be in even the most serious of church meetings – and for people of all ages to be together in the congregation.

When the letter to the church in Ephesus was read in the church – in the assembly – it was read out loud to grown-ups and children alike. Ephesians 6:1 is directed straight at children, whom the Apostle Paul knew would be listening: “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

Children have to be trained, and this includes being trained in how to behave in church. Training involves an enforcer, and parents are the God-ordained enforcers of their children. Being an encouraging parent is a not always an easy job, but being an enforcing parent is even tougher.

Proverbs 22:15 starts off by saying that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rest of it does not say that a good talking-to will drive it far from them. It does not say that being grounded will drive it far from them. It does not say that a “time-out” will drive it far from them. It does not say that sending them to their rooms will drive it far from them. It does not say that taking away their X-Box will drive it far from them. It says that the rod of correction will drive it far from them. I know this may sound archaic, but if I’m not enforcing discipline, then I don’t love my children.

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Proverbs 3:12

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 23:13-14

As a father, if I do not discipline God’s child, placed in my trust, with a rod of correction, then I am placing that child’s life in danger.

Parents should BE encouragers. Parents should BE enforcers. And parents should BE examples.

Being a Godly example may be the toughest thing that parents have to be for their children.

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Proverbs 20:7

Integrity” is living what you believe. It is inconsistent for me to encourage my children with principles I don’t really believe. And it is inconsistent for me to enforce rules on my children I am not willing to follow myself. Parents need to be careful about saying one thing and doing another. As Pastor John Wilkerson says, what I allow in moderation, my children will practice in excess. What I dabble in, my children will dive into.

If you are reading this, and you happen to be a child, however, I want you to know this: When a parent places a rule on you, but does not follow that rule himself/herself, this is not an excuse for you to be disobedient.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matthew 23:1-3

The Pharisees appointed themselves to be the ones to tell people what God said they should do – they had authority. Jesus told people to do what they said, but not what they did. As a Christian child, you may be under an authority figure who is less Godly than you are. But there are blessings in obedience. Generally, God will not fight a battle for you that you are trying to fight on your own in the flesh. If you try to make your parents miserable through showing them disrespect, you may get what you want, but God may see to it that you do not want what you get. One of the worst judgments God can place on you is to let you have your own way.

Having said that, you must also realize that parents and adults know more than you think they do. If you are young – especially if you are a teenaged child – guard against thinking that you know everything. I have heard this attributed to Mark Twain, although I do not know for sure if he actually said it:

“When I left home at age 17, my dad was a complete fool – a total idiot. He didn’t know anything. After being on my own for a while, I came back home at age 21, and I couldn’t believe how much the old man had learned in 4 years!”

Parents should not be Pharisees – teachers who teach falsely. We will give an account for any little ones we lead astray. There is no shortage of terrible role models out there for children to follow: rappers, rock stars, movie stars, athletes, rich and famous people. People scream and follow them, and pay hundreds of dollars to get near them at a concert. People beg for their autographs. They wave their arms for a touch, and worship them. Many of these celebrities are about as big as a big-shot can get. But they don’t do anything for the Lord.

You won’t see many Godly pastors, children’s workers, nursery workers, Sunday School teachers, or Christian fathers and mothers on MTV or the E channel – but they are on God’s TV screen – they are before His sight. Children need to follow those who have God’s approval, more than those who have the world’s approval.

As a dad, do my kids ever see me praying? Do they see me singing to the Lord?

As a mom, I hope you would not put up with your kids using bad language. But when your cell phone goes off, do they hear a rap song or a country or pop song that glorifies sin?

I believe God wants faithful, humble parents – parents who do what’s right when no one else is looking. I believe He wants parents who are different, who are distinct. Parents who are going to stand out, and stand up, for Jesus even if it means being unpopular.

I believe God wants kids who don’t laugh at dirty jokes, and who don’t make fun of teachers and those in authority, even when everyone else is laughing and mocking.

Parents, we don’t have the choice to opt out. Our kids are watching us. Even if I am just one person in the world, I am the world to one person.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:6

Next time: What to do for your kids.


Entries and comments feeds.